As the world prepares for the Summer Olympics (the opening ceremony is this Friday), we thought we’d do a special, hyped-up edition of I Heart My City to give you three very different takes on this year’s host city. We’ve asked three unique Londoners — a television producer, a luxury bikini designer, and a guerilla geographer — to sound off on their storied city. Here’s Number 1.
Job Rabkin is social affairs producer at Channel 4 News, one of the UK’s main news and current affairs television shows — and, before that, was a producer for BBC News. In his free time, Job is a class-A foodie, a political junkie, and a father to two beautiful boys (and a husband to one fabulous woman). Check out Job’s favorite things about being a Londoner, then follow him on Twitter @JobRabkin.
London is My City
When I crave meat I always go Mangal, a Turkish joint on Arcola Street in Dalston, E8.
When I crave Indian food, I always go Brick Lane in Shoreditch.
To escape traffic I head to my bike. London is a great city for cycling with many smaller roads closed to traffic. So-called “Boris Bikes” can be hired at one place and dropped off at another.
If I want to see a play I go to the West End theatre district.
For complete quiet, I can hide away on Hampstead Heath.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Bar Italia in Soho it has to be cappuccino — it’s the best in London.
La Fromagerie off Marleybone High Street is my one-stop shop for great cheese.
Locals know to skip the supermarkets and check out London’s huge range of food markets instead.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I catch the Thames River Bus, which provides spectacular views for very little cash.
For a huge splurge I go to Bond Street for all the top luxury brands.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Kate Moss.
The most random thing about my city is the excessive number of fried-chicken shops.
My city has the most football-obsessed men.
My city has the most originally fashionable women.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves walking, running, boating, swimming, or cycling.
My city’s best museum is Tate Modern.
Brick Lane Beigel Bake in Spitalfields E1 is the spot for late-night eats.
You can tell a lot about my city from its architecture.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they dodge cunningly through crowds.
In the spring you should visit Kenwood House.
In the summer you should hang out at Kew Gardens.
In the fall you should wander through Hyde Park.
In the winter you should enjoy food shopping at Borough Market.
A hidden gem in my city is the Horniman Museum and Gardens in the burbs. Its amazing collection and aquarium shouldn’t be missed.
For a great breakfast joint, try Andrews Restaurant on Grays Inn Road.
Don’t miss the Notting Hill Carnival in August.
Just outside my city, you can visit any number of fabulous historic houses, castles, and gardens. Some of the best are Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII, and Windsor Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in the world. Also, if you want to get a taste of how the English aristocracy lived, be sure to visit Hatfield House.
The best way to see my city is by foot or by bike.
If my city were a pet it would be a Jack Russell Terrier.
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live by the sea.
The best books about my city are too many to mention. Writers have been writing about London since the Romans, from Dickens, to Virginia Woolf, to John Lanchester’s new book Capital. I enjoyed the Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi amongst others.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss The Science Museum in Kensington.
The North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur football clubs could only happen in my city.
My city should be featured on your cover or website because with this year’s Olympics it’s the place to be this summer.